Take your time and let it last, little girl.

I watched the Church of the Highland’s prayer service online this morning. The pastor read Colossians 4:2 which says: Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. He said: “Giving thanks in prayer helps us to remember that God is good and God is always in control.” I needed that reminder today. I started thinking about other times in my life when I needed that reminder that You are good and You are always in control.

Dear 8 year old me, you have enough faith to fill an ocean, don’t lose that. When the invitation comes, hold your mama’s hand down the aisle and squeeze it real hard. Listen to MercyMe sing: “You are one of the redeemed. Set apart. A brand new heart. You are free indeed.”

Thank You Lord, for teaching me to have courage.

Dear 13 year old me, listen to your mama when she says standing up for yourself isn’t putting others down. It doesn’t change them, it only changes you. It hardens your heart. Being too nice should never be the issue. It’s a lesson you’ll keep fighting for the rest of your life. People will come into your life sooner than you know it that will need and appreciate your kindness. Listen to Jake Owen sing: “If I had a dime for half the things I did that didn’t make no sense at all, I’d be living a little higher on the hog. If only I’d’ve known that later on down the road, I’d look back and not like what I see. I’d’ve changed a lot of things… Startin’ with me.”

Thank You Lord, for teaching me to soften my heart.

Dear 17 year old me, things aren’t always going to go your way, no matter how hard you work. You are going to make mistakes. You are going to get rejected again and again. When you start to get an attitude and want to just throw your hands in the air and say whatever, listen to your mama’s voice telling you to say your verse, Philippians 4:8. Listen to Brad Paisley sing: “And oh you got so much going for you going right. But I know at 17 it’s hard to see past Friday night.”

Thank You Lord, for teaching me to seek You and find my worth in You.

Dear 24 year old me, stop letting fear control you. Trust Him. He is going to close doors you thought you really wanted and open other doors you never saw coming. Keep learning to bring everything to the cross before you bring it to the world. Listen to Carrie Underwood sing: “Cause it’s hard to know just what to do when I still feel like a child in my mama’s shoes.

Thank You Lord, for teaching me to have courage.

The pastor also said: “God is always moving even when I cannot see it.” Thank you Lord, for allowing me to see Your hand in my life. I didn’t see it at the time, but thank you so much for moving in my life, despite my fear.

So, that is my prayer today. Thank you Father, for guiding me, for teaching me, for leading me. Thank you for the cross. Thank you for the knowledge that I am not alone. Thank you for your goodness. Thank you for listening to me over the years. Thank you for tapping on my heart and knocking on the door. Thank you for allowing me to worship you. I pray that I keep putting my trust in you. I pray that I come to you more often with a thankful heart. I pray that I come to you alert and ready to hear your teaching. Thank you for so many lessons. Thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for my faith. Thank you for my mama and daddy and all they have taught me too. Thank you changing my heart over the years. Thank you for allowing me to grow. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Love, fill up all of my space.

Two weeks ago today, I was having a rough day, well a rough week to be honest. My day started by having four grown men making fun of my voice. I was just trying to be nice and they thought my voice was just plain hysterical. Then I ended the day by opening my front door and when I looked up, a bird shot poop on my shoulder. I mean he was a solid two feet away and two feet up. He shot it at me. Like took some genuine effort. And let me tell you, it did not get any better the next day, in fact, it got worse.

I’m completely indifferent to what my life is becoming. Like all I can say is whatever. And the more I think whatever, the more I hear my mamas voice telling me to say my verse.

Philippians 4:8 which says: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

Lord, I don’t know what you’re trying to teach me. Learn how to be content? Learn to grow where I’m planted? Learn to let go of my plans? Learn to be patient in times of waiting? Learn to start living instead of waiting? Like I have no idea what I’m supposed to be learning. If this were a hallmark movie, this would be rock bottom. I would find myself in You again then Mr. Right would be right there under my nose and I would finally stop running from him and from You. But this is not rock bottom because rock bottom doesn’t exist. If it did, it would have been hit in college and would have been hit more than once. I thought I hit rock bottom in middle school and probs in high school, but I was just a kid and I had no idea how the world worked. But one thing that always remains is even on my darkest days, Your light still shines. Even on my worst day, I can still find joy. Because my joy comes from You, Lord.

I might struggle to find my footing again but I’m never truly knocked down. Even on my worst day when I can’t see the sun for the rain. The rain reminds me of your promises. Lord, I’ve been broken down. I’ve been taken down a peg or two. I’ve been pushed beyond my limits. I’ve been hurt beyond compare and never thought the wounds would heal. But they did. Lord, no matter how bad things are, You are there. You’re my lighthouse in the storm. You’re my strong tower. You’re my firm foundation. You love me when I can’t love myself. You forgive me when I’m at my worst. You’re my teacher and healer. You’re my God.

That’s what I wanna learn. I wanna learn to love when I don’t feel loved. I wanna learn to love when I don’t feel like loving others. I wanna learn to love when I don’t feel like moving. I wanna learn to love when my feelings are hurt. When I can’t see the sun for the rain. When I can’t see the rainbow after the rain anymore.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I apply Steven Curtis Chapman’s song to my heart and my life. And I’m praying ’bout the woman I wanna be. God, please take all of me. And fill me up with your love. I pray that I let love, take these words that I’m speaking. I pray that I let love, take these thoughts that I’m thinking. I pray that I let love, take me over. I pray that I let love, fill up all of my space and love, stand right here in my place. I pray that I let love, hear this prayer that I’m praying. I pray that when it overtakes me, then it animates me, flowing from my heart into my hands. So I’m praying, Father, help my heart believe, that right now you’re singing over me. And fill me up with your love. Let your never-ending, never-failing, all-consuming love take over. I pray that your love changes me today and every day. I pray that I keep my heart open to your teaching. I pray that I keep my eyes and ears open to your word. I pray that I keep sharing and reaching for your love. I pray that I see your love in the world around me. I pray that I keep looking for it in those around me. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Ain’t no mountain high enough.

Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

My mama called me today because she was so excited. She and her friend  from church started to memorize a bible verse every week and this was the first one. I have not memorized a verse like that since I was a kid and it was the coolest thing to do. Our Sunday school teacher would give us a sticker if we could say the verse to her each Sunday. (I liked stickers!!) I wish we all still had the hearts of children and couldn’t wait to learn more. I was so proud of my mama that it got me thinking about other things she taught me.

1. My mama taught me to take the high road. I had a little trouble learning this. It is so easy to be mean back when people are mean to you especially, in middle school when mean is all you know. It wasn’t until much later that I actually got the message. My mama is full of grace and she tried to teach me that people make mistakes and sometimes you just have to forgive them even when they do not ask for it. If you don’t, you let hate into your heart. You forgive them for their benefit and yours.

2. My mama taught me to think positively. When I was growing up, I discovered the word “whatever.” So she decided to make me say the “whatever verse” every time I said it.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

I must have repeated this verse to her a million times. I could not forget it now if my life depended on it. I thought she was just trying to teach me not to say the word whatever. I had no idea that she was teaching me so much more than that. She was teaching me to take something negative and make it positive. She was teaching me to change my attitude and my thoughts. “Change your thoughts. Change your life.” I didn’t realize my mama was giving me the power to change my perspective and my outlook on life.

3. My mama taught me that girls are just as good as boys. She had to teach my daddy a couple of times too. My daddy told me and my sister that we couldn’t wear camo pants one time because boys wear camo. So what does my mama do? She took us to the store that day and we came home with pink sparkly camo pants! My daddy laughed so hard I think he cried. This was during the Mean Girls era and it was cool to wear camo pants. We wore those pants everywhere.

4. My mama taught me that no one will love me as much as she does. I watched Step Mom as a kid and feel in love with the song “Ain’t no mountain high enough.” The mom gets a hair brush and starts singing this song to her kids and they are just dancing and it is like the most adorable thing ever. The movie is about these two women raising these kids after the dad decides to remarry and I realized the other day that I have both mothers. I have the eccentric, fun, young, and creative mama but I also have the wise, strong, and perfect mama.

“There ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
Ain’t no river wide enough
To keep me from getting to you”

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that my mama knows she is loved and that I learned a few things from her. I pray that she knows just how strong she is. I pray that I grow up to be half the woman she is. I pray that I take Psalm 27:1 and apply it to my life. I pray that she continues to share her light with the world. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.